Home owners on a nearby arterial set a row of wooden theater seats in front of the Fifties' "picture window" that mars the east facade of their 1910 cottage. Over the holidays, they replaced the seats with a screen of three metallic Christmas trees. The effect was enchanting, quietly spectacular, and food for careful thought -30-More after the jump.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
A fresh set of potholders will make a good stuffer for the adult holiday stocking. It's useful to keep a casual eye on sales during the months least likely to market to the end of the year. The restaurant supply in SODO is a good source of underdesigned practical kitchen equipment -30-More after the jump.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
An eighty square foot unit in this neighborhood rents for nearly $14 a square foot. Things have changed since a landlord across the street paid the current homeowner to live in his Queen Anne style house to protect it. The state of the art high tech unit and the turn of the twentieth century living quarters represent both ends of the housing spectrum. Each of them is improved by canny purchasing.
Decent textiles are the heart of housekeeping. Discriminating choice from the ordinary retail market makes a significant difference in the quality of everyday life, strengthens the emergency evacuation kit, and saves significantly on energy costs. All cotton sheets and pillow cases serve best. Thread counts are now astronomical-an old school acceptable minimum was two hundred per square inch. Cotton is the best bottom sheet for warm weather. Use an inexpensive fuzzy high-tech blanket during cold months. Survive a truly icy night by sleeping on a wool blanket.
Simplify bed making by using a comforter encased in an oversized pillow slip of two twin flat sheets. Synthetic blends will do for this. A moderately priced rectangular synthetic sleeping bag from the Great Big Hiking Co-op is good value and a pleasant green to live with as well. Down from a reputable manufacturer is a practical luxury. The Co-op flagship store is kitty-corner from a custom maker.
I am partial to the Oregon Round-up blankets produced regionally in tribal motifs, the ones favored by the local glass artist who has a display space at the Seattle Center. A North Sound tribesman has mounted an interesting Pike Place design and cultural challenge to those blankets, that have been a rustic housekeeping staple for a hundred years.
Choose linen for the table, flimsy cotton terrycloth from The Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain for wipers, and silk for lampshades. A silk shade is the best furnishing value bar none. A coarse linen tablecloth makes a comfortable sheet.
Keep the place clean with neutral pH janitorial no-rinse detergent, Yin-Yang grocery chain window spray, and 0000 steel wool. Cleaning is the fastest and cheapest way to raise one's standard of living. De-junking is the next most effective.
In this neighborhood, re-supply is so fast and easy that it makes sense to maintain a minimal inventory. Choose table ware that stacks and heavy French enameled cast iron pots you can serve from. They're worth the extra money.
Use the place you're paying for. Cook in the kitchen. Meals don't have to be elaborate. Simple preparations of good ingredients carefully managed are fast, easy, and healthful. Let the numberless professionals in the neighborhood prepare complex and demanding feasts.
Orient yourself to the world of furniture by reading Norma Skurka's introductory survey in The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration. Doing so will give you an eye for sleepers in local thrift stores. Start by acquiring a luxury self-inflating camping pad with memory foam top from the Great Big Hiking Co-op. A 72" model is modular with sofas and standard bed frames. Pads can be paired on a conventional frame and topped with a layer of memory foam to form a versatile rack.
Use a standard folding office table for dining and production of knowledge and other work. Drape the table to the floor with a putty-colored cotton drop cloth or plain cotton designer bedspread from The Christmas Miracle Department Store. Set a waterproof layer in place and top the table with a smaller, more easily washable cloth. Cotton yardage hemmed with tape will do. Use the space under the table to store dogs, beverages, and office equipment. Raise the worktop with plastic bed risers if you want to work standing.
The healthiest seating is flat, hard, and high enough to allow the user's knees to rest slightly lower than the pelvis, opening the abdomen for breathing. Perch your sitzbones on the edge of a hard seat. Guru Galen Cranz recommends not sitting on anything more than twenty minutes at a time.
The classic folding director's chair is, historically, a portable throne. King Tut had a version. It's comfortable for a wide range of body types and sizes. Get a couple of extra canvas seats so there's always a fresh one in reserve.
Put money into lighting, but carefully. I find that hardware store shop lights with narrowly focused halogen spots in them make more than the most of a simple utilitarian kitchen. A high-end designer task light anchors a room in intelligent purpose while lesser fixtures supply ambient illumination. An angle-arm magnifying light is surprisingly useful in many places, as is an angle-arm study lamp.
Survive Seattle winters by keeping reading glasses, video monitors, windows, lightbulbs, and plumbing fixtures impeccably clean and metal polished -30-More after the jump.
Monday, January 9, 2017
When my child was in residence, I was baffled by the fiercely allergenic aggregations of paper, wrappers, fruit peelings, dust, and hair that accumulated in his room. A friend ruled that her kids were not to chew gum in the house, and I realized that gum was the miracle adhesive behind the clots -30-More after the jump.